The Greek Orthodox Church edifice is composed of three parts: the Narthex (vestibule), the Nave (main section), and the Sanctuary (chancel and the altar area).
The Narthex or vestibule of the edifice is the first section of the floor plan. In the Narthex you will find the following appointments: candle tables, icon stands, offering plates, candles. votive lamps and receptacle for placing the lighted candles. The Narthex symbolizes the unredeemed or sinful world in which God calls mankind to repentance, renewal and salvation. When the Orthodox communicant enters the house of worship, his first action is to make the sign of the cross. After making an offering in the collection plate, he lights a candle as an affirmation of his faith and enters the nave after venerating the icon of the patron saint of the parish.
The interior of the church is designed to speak to the worshiper, to establish the mood and tone for spiritual and reasonable worship, to preach the Gospel through architecture, sacred vessels, visual arts, symbols and other appointments. The nave represents the transfigured world where the faithful gather as the “Kingdom of God” to share their common faith, heritage, worship, brotherhood, fellowship, love and unity. At the center of the nave ceiling, you will see the dome icon of Christ the Almighty. This icon reminds the faithful that they are under the protection, providence, care and all pervading presence of our Almighty God. To the left, you will see the choir area and to the right, the baptismal font.
THE CHANCEL AND SANCTUARY
The chancel or solea is the elevated area immediately before the sanctuary. It is the area where the transfigured world and the heavens meet. It is in this area where many of the sacred rites and sacraments are celebrated. On the chancel right, you see the bishop’s throne and reader’s stand. On the left, you see the pulpit from which the gospel is preached. Church banners, votive lamps. and finally the icon screen or “iconostasion” are seen on the chance!. The icon screen depicts visual expressions of the saints who compose the heavenly Kingdom: Christ, the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, St. Thomas the Apostle. Archangels Michael and Gabriel, St. Anthony and St. Nicholas. The upper level depicts the apostles and above the center main door you see the Last Supper. In the sanctuary you see the holy table or altar. In the apse or upper sanctuary wall, you see the icon of Mary the “Theotokos” with Jesus as a reminder that salvation came to mankind through the incarnation of Christ. This icon rests on the depiction of the six bishops who are the “pillars of faith.”
The holy altar table symbolizes the tomb of Christ from which salvation and grace is dispensed to the “People of God.” The “food of eternity,” Holy Communion is prepared upon this table at every celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the forgiveness of our sins and for eternal life. In the center of the holy table you see the tabernacle in which Holy Communion is reserved for emergencies and as a sign of the presence of Christ. The votive lamp that hangs from ceiling signifies our faith in Christ as the “Light of the World” and burns constantly as a reminder of God’s presence. The book of the Holy Gospel rests in the center of the table recalling to the faithful that Christ is the center of worship, faith, being and life Under the Gospel book rests the burial cloth upon which the chalice and paten rest during the Eucharistic celebration. The blessing cross and candlesticks also rest on the altar table. Behind the holy table you see the large crucifix, professional fans, cross and torches. To the left and right of the altar table are the altars of preparation and vessels.